BARRE — On a hot and sticky night high atop Quarry Hill, the Thunder Road faithful returned for another night of side-by-side stock car racing on Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night. In the end, Sam Caron grabbed his first Flying Tiger win of the season but it wasn’t enough to stop Derrick Calkins from taking the Triple Crown Championship. Marcel Gravel used a late-race outside pass to win the Late Model’s feature, Street Stock rookie Zach Audet took his first point-counting win and local boy Chris “Creature” Couture took his first Road Warrior win.
After rain, track drying and quick practice sessions for all four divisions, the excitement started just ten-minutes later than advertised for the giddy crowd on hand. Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night was all about the Flying Tigers with a 100-lap finale for the Triple Crown Series. Being the last feature of the evening, it was certainly a spectacular one.
Led to green by defending Flying Tiger track champion Mike Martin and Milton’s Sam Caron, the veterans were off and running at the start. Caron made it look like child’s play as he steadily gained a five-car-length lead over Martin by lap 20 as the champ battled hard with Williston’s Justin Prescott for second. The lead pack started catching up to lap traffic by 40-laps-in as Caron’s green to checker dreams were dashed as Ty Delphia’s flat right front tire sent him into the bright orange Chevrolet of Cam Ouellette on lap 74.
On the restart Caron chose the outside groove and took off from Martin, but caution again flew as Ouellette also blew a right front tire, sending him hard into the turn two retaining wall and ending his night. The repeat restart gave the advantage to Martin with a little more power this time around on the inside with Caron keeping a half-a-fender lead back at the line. Caron continued to build onto his lead steadily until the end taking the Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac 100 win followed by Mike Martin and Rich Lowrey.
After patiently biding his time in traffic and using late-race moves to move up into the top five, Calkins made his own luck. By virtue of his fourth-place finish, Hinesburg’s Derrick Calkins won the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Championship by just two points over Caron in the final tally. Calkins is now the sixth different Triple Crown Champion in as many years.
The Late Models would drive hard, attempting to stay out of the Myers Championship shadow. All-time Late Model wins leader, Governor of Vermont and Birthday Boy, Phil Scott, led from the onset followed by Tyler Cahoon, Brandon Lanphear and Chip Grenier. In the early goings it was a single file line on the inside, with part-timer Bobby Therrien the only tester of the outside groove waters. In the onset, point leaders Stephen Donahue and Chris Pelkey struggled to break into the top 10.
On lap 30, Wolcott’s Marcel Gravel began to use the outside to his advantage, climbing up to second behind Scott by lap 40. Behind him Pelkey began to make ground as the midsection began to disintegrate. On lap 45 Gravel made his move around Phil Scott and took it all the way to victory lane. Marcel Gravel nabbed his first Thunder Road win of the season followed by Phil Scott and Tyler Cahoon, both Scott and Cahoon putting on their strongest runs of the season in the flag-to-flag Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac 50-lap trophy dash.
Thirty-two Street Stocks invaded the Thunder Road pit area Thursday with thirty-one starting the 25-lap feature event. The rolling thunder faced a few rough patches along the way but none too strong to take down Zach Audet. The Morrisville rookie drove hard to take down his first points win at Thunder Road, following his victory in the Marvin Johnson Memorial Race in June. Jeffrey Martin and Tyler Whittemore filled out the podium.
After the rain delay canceled their heat race action, the Road Warriors took to the stage for a 25-lap special as a late addition to Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night. A strong mix of wily veterans and new faces filled the ranks as Barre’s Chris “Creature” Couture took his first Thunder Road win followed by Taylor Sayers and “The Mayor” Josh Vilbrin.
Flying Tigers – Triple Crown Championship 100
2. 01VT, Michael Martin, Craftsbury Common
Late Models – 50 Laps
1. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott
12. 01VT, #Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
Street Stocks – 25 Laps
6. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield
30., 5, Kyle Gravel, Wolcott